tv MSNBC Live With Ali Velshi MSNBC June 9, 2017 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
endured many, many hardships, but they have made a truly remarkable, historical journey. the future of romania and romania's relationship with the united states is very, very bright. president yohanis i thank you for your leadership and i does for you being here today, i look forward to strengthening our alliance with your country and our bonds with your people, the relationship has been good, but now it's stronger than ever. thank you very much. president trump thank you very much for the words you have for the people of romania and for us. thank you for the invitation to
be here with you today. and thank you for arranging this nice weather in this place. mr. president, i'm very glad that we had such a good meeting, and this is due to your strong leadership and this is also due to our strong partnership. obviously the fact that we celebrate 20 years of strategic partnership this year is important for both our nations and it is important to know and this is what i want is romania stays as it is today, romania, a solid democracy.
romania stands together with u.s. troops in afghanistan, we stand together in iraq. mr. president, this partnership contributed greatly to what romania is today and this partnership was and is very important. i think this partnership not only has to continue, this partnership has to become stronger. this partnership has to define our bilateral relationship and this partnership has to contribute to solve so many problems. president trump, you mentioned terrorism. i'm very glad that due to your strong leadership, nato decided to go against terrorism.
your involvement makes so many nations cognizant of the fact that we have to share the burden inside nato and this is why romania also decided, if i'm right, it's the first country in, during your mandate to step up to 2% of gdp for defense spending. a significant part of this defense spending is going into strategic acquisitions and i hope, president trump, that we find good ways to make good use of this money. romania is very conscious of the fact that we stand on the eastern flank and we heavily rely on your partnership, president trump, because we
cannot stand there without the u.s., we cannot stand there alone. on the other hand, our partnership has huge opportunity to step up, not only in security matters, but also in commercial and economic matters, and this is very important. romania is a member of the european union. and i think it's the best interest of you, mr. president, to have a strong european union as a partner. this is vital for all of us. our relationship, the trans-atlantic link is vital. trans-atlantic link is not about diplomacy, about policy, it's at the basis of our western civilization and together we will make it stronger together,
we will make it better. nato and the european union do not have to compete against each other, they have to work together as to produce -- and this is what we decided, president trump, and i, to make our partnership, stronger, better, more enduring, and this will lead very soon to an enhanced economic exchange, to better commerce and this is what we all decide and what we wish because we are responsible, president trump and i, not only for the security we are
responsible for the well-being of our citizens and this is what we are decided to do. does so much, president trump. >> thank you. dave boyer, washington times, please? dave? >> reporter: thank you, mr. president. apologies. mr. president this morning on twitter you were referring to the testimony of james comey vindicating you, but i wondered if you could tell us in person, sir, why you feel that his testimony vindicated use when it really boils down to his word or your word. and could you tell us, do tapes exist of your conversations with him? >> i'll tell you about that in the very near future. meantime, no collusion, no
obstructi obstruction, he's a leaker, but we want to get back to running our country, jobs, trade deficits we want to them to disappear fast. north korea a big problem, middle east, a big problem, that's what i need to be focused on, that's what i have been focused on. yesterday showed no collusion, no obstruction, that was an excuse by the democrats who think that they shouldn't have lost because they think it's impossible for them to lose the electoral college, you have to run up the east coast and you have to win everything as a republican, and that's what we did. so it's an excuse, but we were very, very happy and frankly, james comey confirmed a lot of what i said. and some of the things that he said just weren't true. thank you very much.
do you have a question? >> reporter: thank you. and mr. president, if you could tell us a couple of weeks ago, president trump -- countries including yours who had not paid 2% in the past, should make up for that difference. do you think that's fair? >> i was in brussels and i met president trump and i listened to his speech. and i liked it because, you see, nato is based on values. but it is ultimately a military
alliance and military spendings are complicated and you need a lot of money. because nato is the strongest alliance the earth ever saw, and we want to keep it that way. so we have to spend money for defense purposes. and spending money means if you're in alliance, everybody has to spend money, this is called burden sharing. and i fully agree, mr. president, to that. so of course, some people liked this better, and some didn't like it so much. but it's a simple fact that we have to do this, not as a purpose in itself, we have to do this to stay strong, to be strong, and to defend our nations. >> 100% correct.
and one of the things i was referring to during that speech, is yes, they haven't paid what they should be paying now, but for many years they haven't been paying. so i said, do we ever go back and say how about paying the money from many, many years past? i know no president has ever asked that question, but i do. we're going to make nato very strong. you need the money to make it strong. you can't just do what we've been doing in the past. so i did say, yes, you haven't paid th paid this year, what about the many past years you haven't paid, perhaps you should pay some or all of that money back. you have a question? >> reporter: thank you. i have a question for mr. trump. on the matter of security, sir, you -- many of the countries on
the south flank of russia including romania want to see peace in the region. do you think that the united states should act under ethical fire if any of these countries should be under military aggression? thank you very much. >> i have committed the united states and have committed but i am committing the united states to article 5, and certainly we are there to protect and that's one of the reasons that i want people to make sure that we have a very, very strong force by paying the kind of money necessary to have that force, but yes, absolutely, i would be committed to article 5. >> reporter: thank you, mr. president, were there any discussion about the visa waiver program for romania, and is
there a time frame for including our country in this program? thank you. >> we didn't discuss it, but there would be -- it will be something we will discuss. mr. president? >> i mentioned this issue and i also mentioned it during other meetings i had because this is important for us, it's important for romanians, who want to come to the united states. and you see, more and more people come, president trump, from romania to the united states. some come as tourists and some come for business, and those who come for business should be encouraged because we hope the business waiver will hold and we will advance on this. >> look at those hands up there,
mr. president. do you have this in romania? >> i have a microphone. >> if i could only sell that, if i could only sell it. should i take one of the killer networks that treat me so badly as fake news? should i do that? >> reporter: mr. president. >> goads, john. >> reporter: be fa . >> reporter: mr. president, i want to get back to james comey's testimony, you suggested he didn't tell the truth in everything he said, he did say under oath that you hoped the flynn investigation -- >> i didn't say that. >> reporter: so he lied about that? >> i didn't say that. and there would be nothing wrong if i did say it from everything
i have read today, but he did not say that. >> reporter: so he said those things under oath, would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events? >> 100%. under oath, i hardly know the man, i'm not going to say, i want you to pledge allegiance. think of it, i hardly know the man, it wouldn't make sense. so no, i didn't say that and i didn't say the other. >> reporter: so if robert mueller waed to speak to you -- >> i would speak to him. do you have a question here? >> reporter: when will you tell us? >> a fairly short period of time. >> reporter: are there tapes, sir? >> you're going to be very di disappointed when you hear the answer. >> president yohani sirs, you
suggested that romania could be in russia's crosshairs, how concerned should we be here in the united states about what russia tried to do in our election, sir? >> everybody's concerned, but you see, being concerned should lead use to being prepared. so in my opinion, we have to be very clear, very simple, and very straight forward if we talk about russia and with russia. in my opinion, we need dialogue. but on the other hand, we need what we all together decided in nato, a strong deterrence. so this combination, strong
deterrence, and dialogue, should lead towards a solution which is feasible for every part. >> reporter: hello, mr. president trump. you mentioned earlier the anti-corruption fight in roma a romania, it is a matter of high importance in our country, but we see now that the anti-corruption fight and the efforts to consolidate the rule of law are often undermined by different people, the administration supporting the anti-corruption fight in romania and how can you do it? >> we support very strongly romania, so therefore obviously we do support that fight on
anti-corruption, we will always support that, and we support your president, we think he's done an outstanding job, very popular, very solid, working very hard, we know everything that's going on, and he's going to win that fight, he's going to win that battle, but he has our support. >> reporter: corruption in romania is a problem for the u.s.-romania partnership and the american investor because we still have corruption in romania despite this anti-corruption fight. >> we do, but there are many american investors going to romania and investing, and i was just given a chart that people were going over to romania and investing and they weren't a number of years ago. and a lot of people are investing from our country to
yours. and people love from romania the united states. and they come here a lot and we're very proud of them. thank you all very much. thank you. thank you very much. >> that was an extraordinary bilateral appearance on so many levels. there is of course on the face of it the relationship between the two countries, the president of romania, the past in romania, but there is also yesterday, what we witnessed on capitol hill with james comey and how the president answered a question from correspondent jonathan karl, waiting for the control room to tell me we have that ready and can replay it and then talk about it with our friends here in the studio. until then, nicole wallace, where to begin? >> you know, i'm going to have to find a new word for stunning,
staggering, mind-blowing, yesterday i came up with goat rodeo, but it is always a known unknown that's going to come out of his mouth. it was feeling strong, he was feeling politically bolstered so he went ahead and took a question from john carl, one of the toughest reporters on the beat. and i don't know if the president will consent to being questioned in bob mueller's investigation, but he just committed himself to doing that. >> he committed himself to the nato 5 charter. his committed himself to testifying under oath to the mueller investigation and said his version is the truth, not comey's version. >> and he started out with comments about qatar and putting his finger on the scale, and
what is a tinderbox situation in the middle east, the president clearly made by arguments from countries like saudi arabia that he sees in qatar in regards tos terrorism. i'm sure that the people that wanted that to break through, that he stepped on it by agreeing to testify under oath by bob mueller. >> to nicole's point, there was a foreign policy lead right before there was a domestic lead, ie his offer to testify under oath to robert miueller. >> reporter: what struck me brian, you have stood in this rose garden on other days, where he literally engaged in a back and forth with my colleague john karl there, given the testimony that we heard from james comey,
as he has said on a variety of different topic, he will say you'll hear the answer to that in two or three weeks, but with this question, he said very shortly. this is a man who came from the world of reality tv and this was his episode in the rose garden today. another thing they're not talking about, as they spoke of qatar, as we heard from his secretary of state, secretary of state tillerson earlier, calling to try to calm the tempers with regards to qatar. but you see the president talking about qatar as a funder of terrorism and saying it must stop. that's one of the tensions that exists between him and his 207 aid, his secretary of state. but the president said, 100%
being to say what he said unde oath. he said that james comey was ofttimes vindicating him. >> without delay let's show this exchange correspondent jonathan karl, again, the president hinted he may answer the question as to whether or not there are recordings of conversations inside the white house and, yes, at our table here in new york, we have a former member of the house judiciary committee in the white house during nixon white house. be fair, john, remember how nice you used to be before i ran. such a nice man. >> reporter: always fair. mr. president, let's get back to james comey's testimony. you suggested he didn't tell the truth in everything he said. you did say that you told him
under oath that you hoped the flynn -- >> i didn't say that. >> reporter: so he lied about that? >> i didn't say that, i will tell you i didn't say that. >> reporter: and did he ask you to -- >> and there would be nothing wrong if i did say it according to to everyone i have read today but i didn't say that. >> reporter: and did you ask him for a pledge of loyalty? >> i did not. >> reporter: would you be willing to give your testimony under oath? >> 100%. i hardly know the man, i wouldn't say i want you to pledge allegiance under oath. it doesn't make sense. i didn't say that and i didn't say the other. >>. >> reporter: so if robert mueller wanted to speak with you about that -- >> i would tell him the same thing i just told you.
>> after seeing it a second time? >> yeah, stunning. i think that he also surprised, maybe not his aides, but people who expected him to deliver the line that was prepared for him in his address to nato, confirming his commitment to article 5. people may or may not have been looking for a response by a romania reporter. today he also affirmed his commitment to article 5. but it won't be the headline. it might be on a stop to the nato summit. but it won't be today because he made that stunning revelation that he's glad to testify. i think the back and forth revealed so many things. his looseness and very casual relationship with the truth, his disdain for the truth. comey didn't say that he was
asked to pledge allegiance to him. this is where the white house is going to get tripped up. i can't imagine his attorney is too pleased. he now has a client who's agreed to testify under oath and is mischaracterizing comey's words. >> his lawyers are generally in your face in the same way that donald trump is in your face. we have seen this repeatedly with his personal lawyer michael cohen, where michael cohen will go after reporters in not so friendly language for reporting things that they don't want them to report, not necessarily things that are not true. on the subject of tapes, i was just speaking to a source close to the president, and i know there's a lot of question as to whether or not these tapes exist. i know the president said very,
very soon we will find out. and that's usually when he doesn't have anything to said. there's a whole host of things that we were going to get very soon that we never good. but to those in the white house, this sounds very much like a bluff. if it's a bluff. what does that mean? his callous disregard for the truth. he doesn't seem to care whether or not something is true. from what we have seen from him. >> he said i did not say let this investigation go, but even if i did say it, it would have been all right.
he's doesn't get that he's being alleged to have committed a crime. when he says nothing wrong with it. could be criminal and possibly impeachment. so that to me was astounding. >> we picked an interested day to be joined in the studio by a former member of the house judiciary committee, and we are also joined by our political director chuck todd and our long-time political correspondent pete williams. chuck, what do you have to say? >> i'm shocked, i'm this, i'm that. but i want to echo something that nicole said, he's so cavalier about everything he's said, to me his demeanor today confirms what many have said behind the scenes, he's leaning on the old guard, the crew that got him there, the crew that is
willing to cross some lines every once in a while. those that want a brass knuckle polit politics. cory lewandowski, the former campaign manager, he's back out there defending the president. he's in defiant, defensive mode, he's not trying to figure out how to kpacompartmentalize something like this. the way that bill clinton could more often than not. to me, this was president trump saying he wants to have a war on this, and this is going to be a political war with the special counsel, with the senate, with anybody that comes at him on all things russia. >> through a different prism, pete williams was watching as our justice correspondent, and pete, same question? >> i think it elevates the
question when you have two people alone in a room, whether there's obstruction of justice, yesterday the president's lawyer came out and said that what comey said about the flynn conversation was correct. so the only way he could know that is from the president. so what will people look at? they'll look for thinks around that, for example, the fact that mr. comey says he was in the oval office with a whole bunch of other intelligence officials and the president asked everyone to leave but him. including asking the attorney general to leave. and in the minds of some, adam schiff said that would look like something you would wonder about if the president was going to do something that he was nervous about or thought was improper. and the third thing, comey's staff was around listening to comey's end of the conversation. but obstruction of justice is a difficult thing to prove.
and especially when you have just one person's word against the other because the exact words that were used mattered. of course you add to that the fact that james comey was fired. that's a pretty unambiguous fact. but the whole point is, obstruction is not an easy case to make. >> to nicole's piece, does mark kasowitz have the hardest job in washington right now defending the president? >> he took his advice yesterday and was not tweeting on it. i think for example this decision, mr. kasowitz is going to file a complaint with attorney general on this. that's an attempt to change the subject. i can't imagine if anything is going to come of this, because
if the allegation is that comey should have, quote, unquote, leaked the minutes of the meetings. the most you could say is, well, he took it home when he was still in the government. also said he was going to file a complaint with the committee, i don't know if it will come to that. but to the larger point here, if it is a leak to talk about anything you talk to the president about. usu usually you think of leaks as being classified information, that kind of thing. >> had he stopped on his comments about qatar, had he stopped on his comments about article 5, we would have had a
is new lead story coming out of this event and something to talk about. >> okay, but not a good lead story, brian. >> all right. >> it's a different lead story, it's the president of t the unid states and the secretary of state are sending mixed signals to the middle east and the gulf. it's been minutes, maybe it's a good cop, bad cop situation, maybe we're going to be told this was the plan all los angele angeles -- along. the call for talks, the call for easing thing. and the president's going to stand by saudi arabia. but it was just jarring to have that all in minutes, yes, we could have changed the leead, ad perhaps the president would have loved to defend a policy mistake, rather than having to do with the mess of comey and russia gate.
but i wouldn't call that a good news day if you're looking for that angle with the white house. >> nicole wallace just under a half hour from now, with deadline white house, both broadcasts on a friday afternoon in june will be loaded to the gills with fresh political news. thank you both. richard painter is with us, former ethics lawyer for the bush 43 white house, a man we have been leaning on a lot lately. for mr. kasowitz's client, the president of the united states, we can't believe that the president made himself available, certainly volunteering to testify under oath and not only that, to testify under oath that the former director of the fbi is lying.
>> we'll see what he actually has to say. he was mumbling some of the words there, con fusing the under oath part of this with the allegiance, we'll see what he has to say when he's actually under oath. it's going to be interesting because there's no reason that director comey would have to lie about this, and he kept contemporaneous notes. i have to say that the latest developments which is to report to the director comey to the department of justice for so-called leaking, this is witness intimidating for the president who supervisors the department of justice, to himself or through hiss lawyer to report, or threaten to report comey to be investigated by the department of justice when comey didn't do anything wrong. you are only guilty of a crime if you leak classified information.
and as correctly pointed out a few moments ago, there are many people who have worked in the white house, had conversations with the president, and who had discussed those with the press or written books about it, and that's not impermissible, and the idea of getting the inspector general, the department of justice to lean on comey and investigate him. that's just pure, witness intimidation, and president trump cannot do that, his lawyer can't do that, lawyers are not permitted to assist a client in a crime. so that's a nonstarter, that's going to make the situation much worse and expose the president to additional charges with respect to obstruction of justice, they need to focus on defending the president, and accurately testify under oath if
he had something differesaid so different than comey, and who assisted the russians in conducting espionage in the united states and then disseminated the stolen information that the russians learned through their espionage. that's what we need to find out and these investigations need to go full steam ahead. >> it why would the white house counsel or his personal counsel counsel the president that when these questions come up, say this is a matter under investigation, we have a special counsel digging into all of this or is it possible they did counsel their client to do that and he went his own way in this case? >> well, the president is certainly not known for listening to advice, i wouldn't flow what advice he's been given, white house counsel appears to have as little to do with it as possible and they're
forcing this off on private coun counsels, the way that it's interfering with the white house is its official duties. and the simple question, does the white house have tapes? foreign leaders come to the white house, we just saw that today, and nobody knows whether their conversations are being taped, he can't answer a simple question. that information that people have the right to know that when they're talking to the president, whether the conversations are being taped. we the american people have the right to know if there are tapes, and yet he won't answer the question, very disappointing. >> let's ask a member of the house judiciary committee during
t watergate. >> they had the issue of a cover-up and he said he was never engaged in a cover-up. and the white house tapes solved the problem, nixon tried to get the special counsel fired when he tried to get the tapes. the existence of the white house taping system came out through the investigations of the how judiciary committee, call up the white house, i want to talk to all of the engineers and all of those people and they can gets the answer in two seconds, and if it's president trump's personal taping system, perhaps he pushes some button on his phone, there are people who would know that as well. so there's people in the white house who know the answer and who need to be asked. >> it's probably as confusing
for folks at home as it is for us sometimes, are the powers the same, the house intelligence, senate intelligence, the mueller investigation, do their subpo a subpoenas all have equal weight? >> we know that that question was answered when it came to the prosecutor's case, and in the case united states against nixon, that those tapes had to be public, because he knew the tapes would show that he was lying, and john dean was indeed telling the truth. if people don't want to turn over evidence, there's usually reason to be suspicious about that. >> i don't know that congress even needs to issue a subpoena so call in the technical people.
alexander butterfield, he was the one responsible for that. and once the existence of that tape recording system became one public was the beginning to the end. >> was there a new statement from the president's personal attorney? >> and this is regarding the timeline of when the white house released the content of his memos, from his friends at columbia, to the "new york times." there's a ti there's -- he said that he -- or he allowed memos to be read to reporters even before the president tweeted this tapes idea. comey said that he woke up in the middle of night on monday, a few days after the president tweeted the tapes thing that was on that 12, and samay 12th.
kasowitz is now saying that he was not talking about that may 16 "new york times" reports which cited memos, but rather a may 11th report wiz they say is very obvious that whomever was the source for the may 11, 2017 "new york times" story, got information for that story from the memos or someone reading the memos. so they're trying to do back up and cleanup on an unclear job they did yesterday in trying too discredit the fbi director. this is not anything on whether or not the president will testify under oath. but whether there are tapes or whether he was telling the truth and comey was lying. >> hugh, before we talk to you,
i want use to listen to someone who's a frequent guest on your program, the speaker of the house yesterday talking about the learning curve. >> the president's new to this, he's new to government. so he probably wasn't steeped in the long running protocols that establish the protocols between the fbi, the president and the white house. >> is your rookie year any defense for mistakes made and, b, what do you make of the president's guarantee that he would be happy to talk to mueller under oath? >> some rookies have great years and some have terminal years. i am so shocked by that press conference. the biggest news of all is reaffirming article 5, and the media ought to pay as much attention to his doing that today as they did to his not
doing it in brussels. the second biggest thing is contradict his secretary of state. i know the president said that tillerson spent a lot of time with general mattis. this is where the speaker is wrong, he's saying, he's new, he's not saying that he's naive. but after last night, teresa may's loss, stunning loss, she played it just like clinton did and say i'm going to stick with my instinct, when he said i'll testify, he meant the senate intelligence committee, presidents cannot be summoned to
congress. and there's no neilson rating high enough to judge the audience if he goes and sits in front of this intelligence committee like comey did yesterday. he may be new to this, but he's decided he's going to call from a different playbook entirely. >> we are joined to hugh's point, what is a major story, nonetheless, coming out of this press conference by the former ambassador, he was formerly u.s. ambassador to nato under president obama. so ambassador, on your slice of the world, we didn't get the endorsement of article 5 in the speech at the new nato headquarters, staring straight at the piece of 9/11 wreckage. we did get it today.
>> we did indeed, and it is important that the president finally, 4 1/2 months after becoming president, reaffirmed that the united states is committed to article 5. of course the united states is committed to article 5, it's a treaty obligation that we signed in 1949. and it's not that the -- he said he was committing the united states to article 5, the u.s. is committed, but it's nice to hear finally from the president that he is committed as well. it's an important development, i agree with that, particularly when he hadn't said it in br brussels and he had it said it during the campaign. so it's nice to hear that the president is committed to article 5. >> we're waiting on domestic politics, is trump going to call comey a liar and so on. what did you make of the remarks by the romanian president directly to the president of the
united states on the subject of nato? >> he said that burden sharing is important underlying principle for nato, and it is true, he said, that europe needs to do its part. now romania is rapidly increasing its own deef spending, getting close to that 2% gdp mark that the president's been harping on. but burden sharing is a two-way street, it's not only that europe needs to spend as much on defense, it's also that the united states needs to be committ committed to europe, just as europe was committed to the united states after 9/11. we need burden sharing, but it's also important for the united
states to make clear that it's there for europe. we'll take a break in our live coverage. when we come back, we'll continue our discussion here, and remember, top of the hour, nicole wallace starts her hour of coverage, followed by chuck todd. as they say the news watch never stops. across the state. new roads and bridges. new mass transit. new business friendly environment. new lower taxes. and new university partnerships to grow the businesses of tomorrow today. learn more at esd.ny.gov and these kids are having a bake sale for their soccer team so i need some cash.
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in the meantime, no collusion, no obstruction, he's a leaker, james comey confirmed a lot of what i said. and some of the things that he said just weren't true. >> the president in the rose garden moments ago now, katy tur's with us, who has caovered donald trump for so long, so many months. at one point, katy, he said "i didn't say that and there would be nothing wrong if i did say it." which conveniently is a carveout from the law for one person. >> yeah, i think he sees himself since he is president as somebody who doesn't need to abide by the same rules and standards as everybody else because he's the one in charge.
if he goes and he purgers himself it is, in fact, not true, that he asked james comey for his loyalty, what are the consequences for him there? can he pardon himself? who knows what he thinks the office allows him to do. who knows what he thinks the consequences are. it's unclear as elizabeth has been saying just how much he understands the role that he is in. the other thing that i wanted to point out, which i think is vjut very striking, he said why i would i ask james comey for loyalty? i hardly knew the man. i hardly knew the man. why would i do that? that is interesting coming from somebody who requires nondisclosure agreements from almost everybody within his organization. he required nondisclosure agreeme agreements. >> piece of paper you sign. >> a piece of paper you sign, a contract you sign from volunteers in his campaign. and not volunteers who might have interaction with him. volunteers who phone banked for him. there were legal questions about whether he could even do that because he wasn't paying them.
so the idea that why would i ask for loyalty, i hardly knew him, doesn't quite hold water because he asked for loyalty from everybody. he asked for loyalty from people who were making phone calls on his behalf, the lowest level of volunteering you can do for his campaign. i don't know how anybody who knows donald trump, who's followed donald trump, who's tracked donald trump, can believe that statement, why would i ask for loyalty when i hardly knew the man? this is the head of the fbi. if there's anybody that wants loyalty from in that moment right after he's told by the deputy a.g. that his national security adviser is under investigation, who are you going to want loyalty from? you're going to want it from your fbi chief. >> elizabeth, he does have experience in the law. he has been deposed. he knows the definition and the feeling of being under oath. >> oh, yes. mr. trump does. and i don't know whether he's ever going to carry out the commitment he ever made, but the
fact of the matter is that when you talk about asking for loyalty, i was d.a. in brooklyn for eight years. and when i listened to some wiretaps that we had of mafia people, that's the kind of thing you ask for. this is not the kind of question the president of the united states ever should be asking of the head of the fbi. it's not loyalty. certainly not personal loyalty. but pledge that he'll do his job. and, of course, this happened at a dinner that -- a private dinner and comey went. he said, i thought other people were going to be there, but he wanted a private dinner and he made a note of it. so a contemporaneous note. he was very troubled about that, the request for loyalty. >> we have the ethics lawyer for the bush 43 white house, richard painter standing by. richard, before you and i do another round, i want to play this exchange. we can't watch it enough at this point. from the rose garden. the exchange that has given up our lead story this hour.
>> he did say under oath that you told him to let the flynn t -- you said you hoped the flynn investigation he could let go. >> i didn't say that. >> so he lied about that? >> well, i didn't say that. i mean, i will tell you, i didn't say that. >> and did he ask you to pledge -- >> and there would be nothing wrong if i did say it according to everybody that i've read today, but i did not say that. >> and did he ask for a pledge of loyalty from you? that's another thing he said. >> no, he did not. >> so he said those things under oath, would you be willing to speak under oath to give your version of those events? >> 100%. i didn't say under oath. i hardly know the man. i'm not going to say i want you toallegiance. who would do that? who would ask a man to pledge allegiance under oath? think of it. i hardly know the man. it doesn't make sense. no, i didn't say that and i didn't say the other. >> so if robert mueller wanted to speak with you about that -- >> i would be glad to tell him exactly what i just told you. >> you seem to be hinting there are conversations about the --
>> i'm not hinting about anything. i'll tell you about it over a short period of time. okay. do you have a question here? >> when will you tell us about the recordings? >> fairly short period of time. >> are there tapes, sir? >> you're going to be very disappointed when you hear answer. >> we are left to wonder, are there recordings? and how to define a very short period of time. and will we ever know the answer? richard painter, as we say, was chief ethics lawyer from the bush 43 white house. richard, i have no choice but to fall back again as often happens in life on what we know, and that's sports. the expression, tie goes to the runner in baseball, two men in the ornate green room upstairs in the white house over dinner. periodically, two different navy stewards come in and out, but for most of the time, they're alone together. they have opposing stories.
how does the law balance this given the fact that one of them is the president of the united states? and at the time of the dinner, the other is the fbi director. >> well, we will see what he says under oath when he is asked questions by mr. mueller because the questions posed there in the rose garden were, themselves, somewhat unartful. were not particularly precise and his answers were very garbled as well. he clearly was sending a message that he never asked for loyalty from jim comey. he was also sending a message that he never said to stop the flynn investigation. but when precise questions are asked by a professional prosecutor, he's going to have to answer, he's going to get pinned down and they're going to be yes or no questions and then we'll see what the testimony looks like. and then we'll also find out
whether there are tapes and if there aren't any tapes, why he would be running around talking about tapes that don't exist. unfortunately, the president has said many things that undermine his credibility. going back several years ago, the business about the obama birth certificate then we hear about the obama spying on the trump tower and i guess the british secret service, whoever over there, too. all sorts of allegations coming from the president. so he does have a credibility issue, but let's see what his testimony is. his precise testimony and then compare the two. thus far, all we have is director comey under oath. another issue is that they're just trying to confuse everybody. getting everybody worked up about the so-called leak. nobody cares when director comey read his letter, gave it to a friend, who gave it to "the new york times." he has every right to do it, it
doesn't contain classified information. people do that all the time. nobody cares about the chain of events. yes, the president's lawyer got it wrong yesterday and they're trying to back track on all that, but that's an enormous sideshow. is not relevant when director comey revealed to "the new york times" the fact that he'd been under pressure from the president, with respect to the flynn investigation. what is important is has the president obstructed justice by pressuring the director of the fbi to drop the flynn investigation, which is directly linked to the russia investigation because flynn was going to turn states evidence on the russia investigation in return for immunity. did the president put that pressure on and threaten to fire comey if he didn't drop the investigation and did he fire comey for that reason? if that's the are reason he fired comey, he committed obstruction of justice. that's the main issue. the rest of this is a big sideshow. >> richard painter, joining us from the twin cities as we
mentioned. former ethics lawyer for the bush 43 white house. can't thank you enough for this analysis. as we thank our other guests here in the studio. katy tur and former new york member of congress, elizabeth holtsman, notably formerly a member of the house judiciary committee during the watergate years. knowledge and experience. she's already had ample opportunity today to call back and talk about on the air. the 4:00 hour has arrived. and around here, that means it is time for nicolle wallace and her broadcast, "deadline white house." nicolle, you thought it was going to be maybe an easy skate on a friday afternoon, early june. not so. >> i thought we earned it after our eight-hour marathon yesterday. i thought we earned a sleepy friday, but apparently we didn't. another friday and another bombshell development in this k ongoing